The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts by Linda G.

Brian and Deborah’s Wedding Day

This past Saturday (June 24) I photographed Brian and  Deborah’s wedding.   Brian is our friends’ Sheila and Doyle’s oldest son. The last wedding I photographed was in September 2014. I vowed then that it would be the last time I was the official photographer for a wedding. I was “retiring” from photographing weddings for family and friends. Well, after a little arm twisting by Sheila, I agreed to photograph Brian and Deborah’s wedding.  Thank you, Brian and Deborah, for choosing me.  It was an honor to serve as your wedding photographer.

i created a collage of some of the pictures that I took at the wedding.


Brian and Deborah had a beautiful wedding.

 Congratulations Brian and Deborah!  May all of your days together be as beautiful and cherished as your wedding day – here’s to your future together as Husband and Wife!




It’s a Small World

Every now and then I am reminded what a small world it is that we live in.

I photographed a wedding this past Saturday afternoon.  Twice during the weekend, I was reminded it’s a small world.

The first reminder happened on Saturday evening, after returning home from the wedding.  I learned that a  groomsman was a friend’s husband.  Amy, is a Facebook friend, whom I have met in person a couple times. Our relationship mainly, though, is online on Facebook. Around 8:15 pm Amy posted on my Facebook timeline: “Didn’t recognize me today did you lol”. No, I didn’t recognize Amy! I did give her a double take, though, when I was saying goodbye to the groom’s mother.  Amy was standing there, as I said goodbye to Sheila. My eye kept wandering to Amy. I felt I knew Amy but couldn’t place her. I wish Amy would have told me who she was! I asked Amy, if she was friend or a family member to the bride or groom.  Amy’s response was that her husband Jason was in the wedding. Up until then, I knew Jason as only Jason (or JJ). I didn’t know his last name.

The second reminder happened on Sunday evening.  A girl, who dated my oldest nephew many years ago, messaged me via my Facebook photography page, “The Beauty Around Us”, after seeing the photograph of the wedding party that I shared on Facebook.  Kayla wrote: “This is Kayla.  I am not sure if you remember me or not, but i saw the pictures you posted of a wedding you just did and my niece was part of it. I told her I knew you.” Kayla’s niece was one of the bridesmaids.

Small world, isn’t it!

Maggie Valley NC to Warren PA

We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina. I have been uploading blog posts about our vacation since May 29th. This blog post is about our eighth, and final, day of vacation.

I wish I had slept better the night before.  Bob’s snoring awakened me, and the room temperature wasn’t good. I was either too warm or cold. Apparently I slept with an ant too. While half asleep, during the night, I changed my sleeping position. I rested the side of my head on another pillow. I heard a buzzing noise…bee? fly? I turned on the light and lifted my pillow….nothing. I lifted the other pillow…nothing. I pulled back the bed sheet and shook the covers…nothing. I eventually went back to sleep. Later on, I placed my hand underneath the pillow and felt movement. I brushed my hand outward. I got up, looked underneath the pillow and saw a black, plump ant moving quickly to the head of the bed. I flattened that ant, without a moment’s thought.

We departed A Holiday Motel on Sunday, May 21, at 5:15 am, in the rain.  We arrived at Cracker Barrel in Asheville, NC at 5:50 am. We had an approximate wait of 10 minutes before the restaurant opened. While we ate, it got lighter outside. The rain, however, continued. We were back on the road around 6:30 am.

Our next stop was 3 hours later at the Rocky Gap Safety Rest Area/Welcome Center, located along Interstate 77 in Virginia. The only thing noteworthy about this rest stop was some old vehicles that we saw in the parking lot.

20170521_133433293_iOSInterstate 77 in Virginia at the
Rocky Gap Safety Rest Area/Welcome Center

The rain turned into drizzle, as we entered West Virginia and soon stopped completely.

We ate lunch at Shoney’s in Summersville, WV. We were back on the road at noon.

The Pennsylvania Welcome Center in Waynesburg is a very nice welcome center. It is full of brochures and maps about places throughout Pennsylvania, as well as coloring and activity books for children.  There is also a coal miners memorial at this welcome center.

20170521_180940895_iOSCoal Miners Memorabilia at
Pennsylvania Welcome Center in Waynesburg, PA


Monument Dedicated to all Coal Miners at
Pennsylvania Welcome Center in Waynesburg, PA


The coal miners memorial was of interest to me, as both Dad and my brother, Jim, were coal miners.

The rain started up again soon after leaving the Pennsylvania Welcome Center, and followed us home.

We got off Interstate 77 at the Slippery Rock exit, several miles sooner than routed by the GPS. We were getting tired of interstate travel.

We returned home at approximately 5:30 pm. We drove in rain at least 75% of our drive home.

This blog post concludes our Virginia and North Carolina vacation.  I hope that you enjoyed, vicariously, coming along with us on our vacation.


Our vacation in May was planned around the South East Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (SEVROC) motorcycle rally in Maggie Valley, NC.  The motorcycle rally was a 4-day event (May 18-21).  Our vacation began on Sunday, May 14.  We drove from Warren, PA to Front Royal, VA, where we spent the night.  On Monday, May 15, we drove from Front Royal, VA to Waynesboro, VA, via Skyline Drive.  We drove from Waynesboro, VA to Maggie Valley on Tuesday, May 16.  For the next 5 nights we were lodged at A Holiday Motel, which was home base for SEVROC 2017.

SEVROC is an annual event.  This year marked its 19th year.  Since 2006 the rally has been held in Maggie Valley.  Prior to 2006 the rally was held at two other south east locations: at Suches, GA for 2 years and at Lake Lure, NC for 5 years. (Thank you “Skid”, of Skid and Sandy on the Road, for information about rally locations prior to 2006.) From 2006 through 2013 the Applecover Inn in Maggie Valley served as home base for SEVROC, with innkeepers Derrick and Amy Cole catering to the club needs.  SEVROC 2014 had a change of venue due to Derrick and Amy not being at the Applecover Inn any longer.  Since 2014 A Holiday Motel has served as home base for SEVROC, with owners Gabi and Rob Edwards catering to the club needs.  This is our fourth SEVROC rally. Bob and I attended the rally previously in 2008, 2014, and 2015. This was the first year that we didn’t take the motorcycle to the motorcycle rally.  Our mode of transportation in the prior years was by motorcycle AND car.  I have never been able to ride long distances on the motorcycle, but I have been able to make the drive.  I was uncertain if I would be able to drive this year, as the arthritis in my right knee appears to have worsened in the past year or so.  Therefore, we opted to travel by car only.  Because VROC rallies are more about the PEOPLE than the bikes, it doesn’t really matter how you travel to a rally.  What is important is that you come to the rally!  Over the years I have come to think of a VROC rally as a family reunion.

_LG21743A Holiday Motel
SEVROC 2017 Rally Headquarters

An enjoyable part of the SEVROC rally is to meet new people and to get reacquainted with friends whom you have met at other rallies.  In between rallies we stay in touch with our friends via the VROC web forum and Facebook.

_LG21739“Boomer” and Mikey greet each other.

_LG21662“Jax” greets Hang and “Zeke”.

The rocking chairs in front of your room provided a good location, too, for meeting new people and getting reacquainted with old friends.






We enjoyed a campfire each night of the rally.

_LG21781Campfire at A Holiday Motel

The SEVROC Meet & Greet was held at the Rendezvous Restaurant at the Maggie Valley Inn, located approximately 3 miles north of A Holiday Motel. The Meet & Greet began at 6:00 pm and was over around 7:00 pm. Dinner was served family style. We had tossed salad and rolls, fish, coleslaw, ham, fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, and macaroni and cheese. For dessert we had Oreo chocolate pudding with whipped topping.  The food was good; the company was exceptional.

_LG21751Bob and I sat at this table.

“Willie Wonka”, Carlene, “Pappy” and Cheri sat opposite Bob and me.

_LG21750“Willie Wonka” and Carlene

_LG21761“Pappy” and Cheri

I took pictures of those at other tables as well.  I heard that our dinner party totaled 51 people.




And just as I was ready to return to my table, “Judge” and Cindy arrive at the Meet & Greet.

_LG21756In the center, “Judge” and Cindy

After dinner, back at A Holiday Motel, “Southern Draw” and Carolyn’s son, their daughter-in-law and granddaughter entertained us with music.

_LG21785“Southern Draw” and Carolyn’s son and daughter-in-law
Somebody’s Child


SEVROC 2017 wrapped up the evening of Saturday, May 20, with a raffle and 50/50 drawing.

_LG21855Gathering for Saturday’s Raffle and 50/50 Drawing

Riders of Kawasaki (ROK) sent “Jax”, the organizer of the SEVROC motorcycle rally, a number of prizes to be drawn for.  ROK also sent Kawaski-branded merchandise to be handed out to rally attendees.

_LG21850Thank you, ROK, for the Kawasaki-branded lanyards, water bottles and travel mugs!


The raffle begins, with the first ticket drawn.

The raffle resulted in 12 merchandise winners.
Bob was one of the twelve winners.  He won 6 quarts of oil.

Next up was to draw the ticket for the money.  The winner would receive 50% of the proceeds.  The balance would go to the local police department K9 unit.

The winning ticket for the 50/50 was drawn by one of the K9 officers.

“Blondy” won the 50/50 drawing.

_LG21884“Blondy” with “Jax”, Mikey and the local K9 officer

The total amount of money collected for the 50/50 drawing was $696.00.  Therefore, “Blondy” won $348.00, and the local K9 unit received $348.00.  “Blondy” handed over her entire winnings to the local K9 officer.  The giving didn’t stop there.  Individual rally attendees came forward and contributed more money to the K9 program. When the money was tallied up, we had contributed $1,200.00 to the K9 program!

_LG21890“Jax”, Mikey, the two K9 officers and one of their two dogs

The next order of business was the presentation of a quilt to “Jax”, in recognition of all the years that he has organized the SEVROC rally.

_LG21899Presentation of Quilt to “Jax”

The quilt was made of SEVROC shirts from 15 different rallies.  The shirts were donated by various members.  Mikey’s wife, Linda, was responsible for the quilt’s preparation.  She and Mikey had each of us come secretively to their room and autograph the back of the quilt.  What a wonderful gift for “Jax”!

After the quilt presentation, the K9 officers showed their dogs.  One of the K9 officers showed us what last year’s SEVROC contribution to the K9 program purchased for the K9 unit.  The black box and yellow ball in the picture displayed below is used in training K9 drug sniffing dogs.

_LG21906K9 officer explaining use of black box and yellow ball in training of K9 drug sniffing dogs

What a wonderful time we had with our VROC “family”.

_LG21916I love each and every one of them and look forward to the next time we meet in person!


A “No Sightseeing Day”

We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina. I have been uploading blog posts about our vacation since May 29th. This blog post is about our seventh day of vacation.

We ate breakfast on Saturday, May 20 at Joey’s Pancake House.  Bob and I each ordered an omelet, hash brown casserole, and toast.  Breakfast was delicious, especially the hash brown casserole.  Joey’s is one of our breakfast stops, while in Maggie Valley.  According to Joey’s web page the pancake house is closing as of today Tuesday, June 13th.

We returned to A Holiday Motel, after breakfast. We decided to stay close to the hotel, taking it easy in preparation for our long drive home the next day.

We watched ‘Blindspot” on Hulu. We are able to get Hulu via the Amazon Fire TV Stick that we brought with us on vacation.

After watching “Blindspot”, we walked around the hotel grounds, socializing with some of our motorcycling friends.  I mistook one of our friends for his brother.  Lonnie arrived at A Holiday Motel on Tuesday, the same day as we did. It was uncertain if Lonnie’s brother Carl would attend this year’s SEVROC, as he had just returned home from a cruise. As we were passing by Lonnie’s room, I saw someone at a motorcycle.  It looked like someone had just arrived. I quickly took note of whom I thought was Lonnie, standing near the motorcycle.  I walked up to whom I thought was Carl, at the motorcycle, and gave him a big hug, saying that I was happy that he made it. Well I hugged Lonnie, not Carl…not that he minded. After hugging Lonnie, the man standing on the opposite side of me, who I thought was Lonnie, said “it’s me. I’m Carl.” It was at that moment I realized I had mistaken Lonnie for Carl. I gave Carl a hug, everyone including me laughing about my blunder.

_XZ00989Carl (on the left) and Lonnie

The annual trek to Seven Silver Seas, commonly referred to as the Purple Store, happened at 11;00 am. I didn’t go this year, not wanting to be tempted to buy something that I don’t need.

While some of the ladies were shopping at the Purple Store, I did some reading. I started reading “The Handmaid’s Tale” before leaving on vacation. I hadn’t picked up the book since.  By the way I am STILL reading “The Handmaid’s Tale”.  I am enjoying the book; however, I keep finding something to do to take me away from my reading!

In the middle of the afternoon Bob and I walked to Market Square, where we stopped at Rock-N-Robins for ice cream and then did some window shopping.

20170520_170803117_iOSThe ice cream at Rock-N-Robins is delicious.

While window shopping, a promotion for T-shirts caught my eye.  We ended up purchasing two Magic T-shirts for each of our granddaughters.  Magic T-Shirts have designs that are black and white indoors and burst into color in the sun. They return to black and white without the sun.  The design we chose was butterfly wings.  We gave the T-Shirts to the girls at their 5th birthday party on May 27th.

We ate dinner at Bogarts Restaurant in Waynesville. It was our first time at this restaurant. Our rib-eye steak sandwiches were very good, as was the sweet potato fries (for me) and onion rings (for Bob). This restaurant (and the ribeye steak sandwiches) were recommended to us by “Skid”, one of our motorcycling friends.  Thank you, “Skid”.  Dinner was delicious!

The Southeast Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (SEVROC) motorcycle rally wrapped up in the evening with a raffle and 50/50.  I will share photographs from the raffle in a later blog post.

We said goodbye to everyone before turning in early for the night. We plan to begin our drive home the next day no later than 7:00 am.

Bicycle Ride Around Lake Wilhelm

Bob and I went for a bicycle ride this past Saturday (June 10th).

Bob is carrying our folding bicycles from the house to the car.

We ate breakfast at Richard’s Family Restaurant in Youngsville, PA. Bob ordered an omelet filled with onions, mushroom and cheddar cheese with rye toast and sliced tomatoes on the side. I ordered scrambled eggs, bacon and French Toast. Breakfast was good and quite filling.

Leaving Richard’s, we began our drive to where our bicycle ride would begin.


Youngsville, PA to Lake Wilhelm, PA

Lake Wilhelm is the centerpiece of Maurice K. Goddard State Park.  We have visited Lake Wilhelm a few times, circling the lake by car.  This was the first time that we planned a bicycle ride at the lake.

The John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Loop Trail is 12 miles long. The paved, predominantly off-road trail traces the northern and southern shores of Lake Wilhelm.  The loop trail is a pleasant, largely wooded loop around the lake.  We began our ride at Boat Launch #4, which is located on the lake’s north side.

We arrived at Boat Launch #4 at approximately 9:30 am.

D6101638Lake Wilhelm Boat Launch #4

A flock of geese flew overhead, as we were preparing for our bicycle ride.

_LG21953The geese made quite a noise, as they flew over us at Boat Launch #4!

We didn’t begin our ride until 10:00 am. It took approximately 30 minutes to unfold our bicycles and attach a trunk bag to each rack. The next time we go for a ride less preparation time will be required, as the trunk bags already will be attached. We planned to ride from Boat Launch #4 to the dam and back, which I had read somewhere on the Internet was an approximate 5-mile round trip. I guess I read the information incorrectly, as it was about 5 miles ONE WAY to the dam from Boat Launch #4.

The trail on the north side contains several sharp bends and short, steep runs that I found challenging. The payoff, though, are scenic vistas overlooking the water.

D6101641En route Lake Wilhelm Dam

D6101643En route Lake Wilhelm Dam

D6101644The trail crosses over Lake Wilhelm Dam.

Once we reached the dam, we decided to continue rest of the way around Lake Wilhelm, rather than back track, as it would add only a few more miles to our day’s ride.

The trail on Lake Wilhelm’s south side runs from the dam to Lake Wilhelm Road.  The trail shares Creek Road with motor vehicles from the dam to Boat Launch #1 and ends at the marina.

D6101647Amish buggy along Creek Road; no horse in sight

Before reaching Boat Launch #1, one can choose to stay on Creek Road or take the bike trail up over a steep hill.  Bob took the high road; I stayed on Creek Road.

We found lots of horses and more Amish buggies at Boat Launch #1.  I am certain that one of the horses pulled the Amish buggy that we saw earlier.

D6101649Horses and Amish Buggies
Note the picnic areas shown in this photograph.

Picnic areas are abundant and restrooms can be found at each of the four boat launches around the lake.

D6101650There were lots of Amish buggies at Boat Launch #1.
Boat trailers were parked nearby.

10-mile marker
Two more miles to go!
(photo by Bob)

Actually we had about 2 1/2 miles to go, as we entered the trail about 1/2 mile from the start.  Oh, and in the photograph displayed above, I was not walking my bicycle at this point.  I got off to take a picture of the 10-mile marker.  I DID walk my bicycle, though, several times during our 12-mile ride!

D6101653We made it to the marina!

The south and north portions of the John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Loop Trail are connected via Lake Wilhelm Road.  You can see Lake Wilhelm Road (across the lake) in the photograph displayed above.  There is a large berm along the side of Lake Wilhelm Road, so traffic was not a problem.

We began our bicycle ride at 10:00 am and completed the ride at 1:00 pm.  Bob used the MapMyRide app to track our bicycle ride.


Screenshot from MapMyRide app

The MapMyRide app records moving time. We made stops (to take pictures and to rest) equaling approximately an hour. The last 1/2-1 mile didn’t go well. I had to make frequent stops because I felt weak and dizzy. Eating a chocolate bar, when we made it back to the car, quickly ended the weak feeling and dizziness. We carried water with us. We need to carry candy too, e.g. hard candy or protein bars that won’t melt.

From Lake Wilhelm we drove to Erie. We ate a late lunch at Texas Roadhouse, using a gift card for a portion of the cost. Lunch was good and filling as well.

We began our drive back home, after lunch. We made one stop along the way. We stopped at Walmart in Corry, where we purchased two bicycle seats.  Our new bicycle seats are wider and more cushy than the seats currently on our folding bicycles.  Our next bicycle ride will be more comfortable on our buttocks!

We both enjoyed the John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Loop Trail and would like to ride it again, perhaps sometime during the autumn months.

Subaru 6,000 Mile Service and More Waterfalls

We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina. I have been uploading blog posts about our vacation since May 29th. This blog post is about our sixth day of vacation.

We awakened at 5:45 am on Friday, May 19.  We were showered and dressed for the day by 6:30 am.

We left A Holiday Motel at 6:38 am en route Asheville, NC. I drove. We arrived at IHOP at 7:15 am. Bob ordered coffee, two scrambled eggs and two slices bacon. I ordered two scrambled eggs, two slices of bacon and two pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream. The food and service were good.

After breakfast we went to Prestige Subaru, where we had an appointment at 8:15 am for our Subaru Legacy’s 6,000 mile service.  We purchased our new car in March this year and have put over 5,000 miles on the car.  We knew we would be over 6,000 miles by the time we returned home, so we made a service appointment, while on vacation, for this important first service. Customer service was excellent.  From the moment we walked in they were so kind, welcoming, and generous. We were offered breakfast snacks and coffee while we waited in comfortable seating.  The service was fast and efficient.

The car service was completed by 8:55 am. We left Prestige Subaru en route Canton, NC. In Canton we hopped onto NC Route 215 south.

_LG21701NC Route 215
near the U.S. Route 276 and NC Route 215 Intersection
Sign indicates that the next 34 miles will have 9% grades, 15 MPH curves and 5000 ft. elevations.

_LG21703We passed by Lake Logan.

As our drive brought us closer to the Blue Ridge Parkway, we saw two waterfalls.  We have seen both of these waterfalls during past visits in this area.  However, we have approached them from the opposite direction.  It was strange to come up on the waterfalls on the opposite side of the road than expected!  In the past I have referred to these waterfalls as Waterfall #1 and Waterfall #2.  This year I discovered the name of one of the two waterfalls.

_LG21704Sunburst Falls

There are two sets of falls here, an upper falls and a lower falls.  I have shown the upper falls in the photograph displayed above.

Sunburst Falls is located right next to NC Route 215.  The waterfall crosses under a beautiful stone bridge. The water flows through an arch in the bridge and plunges into some smaller falls below the bridge.

_LG21709Sunburst Falls (Lower Falls)

The second waterfall we passed was also located right next to NC Route 215.

Waterfall #2

Please click here, if you are not able to watch the embedded waterfall video.

Leaving the second waterfall, we continued on NC Route 215 to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We turned right onto the Parkway.  We stopped at three overlooks before returning to Maggie Valley.

Our first stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway was at Beartrap Gap Overlook.

_LG21718Beartrap Gap Overlook
Elevation 5,580 ft.

_LG21719We enjoyed a picnic lunch, while at the Beartrap Gap Overlook.

_LG21722Richland Balsam Overlook
Elevation 6,053 ft.
Highest Elevation on the Parkway

Our last stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway was at the Standing Rock Overlook.  The standing rock for which the overlook is named is located at the south end of the parking area.

_LG21729Standing Rock Overlook
Elevation 3,915 ft.

We returned to A Holiday Motel, home base for the Southeast Vulcan Riders and Owners (SEVROC) motorcycle rally, at around 1:30 pm.  We were tired, so we took a nap.

After our nap, we socialized with our VROC friends until it was time to leave for dinner.

Dinner was a group event, the SEVROC Meet & Greet.  Back at A Holiday Motel, after dinner, the son and daughter-in-law of one of our friends, entertained us with music.  I will share a separate blog post about the Meet & Greet and our evening entertainment, as well as other specific SEVROC-related events, in the near future.



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